Vacation Rentals

Airbnb host violates lease, thwarts eviction. So are you off the hook too?

By Virginia K. Smith  | June 20, 2014 - 3:59PM

Every week it seems there's a new update in the ongoing legal tussle between Airbnb, the state, and the city's landlords and tenants. But the latest decision seems like it was a bigger deal than most: a Manhattan judge ruled that a woman couldn't be evicted from her FiDi apartment even though she'd knowingly been violating her lease (and turning a profit) by renting the place out on the home-sharing site.

Seems like a huge victory for renters hoping to make a little extra cash, right?

Well, maybe.

The judge ruled that the oft-cited state law against short-term sublets--the "Multiple Dwelling Law"--is meant to keep landlords and property owners in line, not tenants, and that renting out a room for profit isn't the kind of "noncurable" offense generally used to justify an eviction.

But the judge also found that once a landlord tells a tenant to stop Airbnb-ing their apartment, the tenant is obligated to comply (and the defendant in this particular case has long since stopped listing her apartment), so this isn't exactly a free ride for would-be Airbnb hosts.

Meanwhile, the company itself says it's "pleased" with the decision, and one longtime Housing Court attorney told the New York Post that the ruling is "good for tenants." Though it's not the final rule for landlords, and doesn't necessarily set a precedent for other courts, for now, at least, renters hoping to make a quick buck off a weekend guest can breathe a little easier.


Don't get too excited about Airbnb's court "victory"

Yes, it's still illegal to rent out your NYC apartment for less than a month

Lessons from an Astoria man who made $18,000 on Airbnb--legally

Rent Coach: Being an Airbnb landlord isn't for everyone

I made $14K on at $99/night

Craigslist scam buster: Check before handing over the cash

8 tips for NYC Airbnb hosts, from a pair of Airbnb junkies

Brick Underground articles occasionally include the expertise of, or information about, advertising partners when relevant to the story. We will never promote an advertiser's product without making the relationship clear to our readers.